Fiscal Office: La. Could Save With Medicaid Expansion

Apr 23, 2013

The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates Louisiana could save up to $554.9 million over five years and between $185.2 million to almost $511 million over 10 years by expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The fiscal note, released Monday, does project a net cost starting in 2020, but does not parse any of those numbers. Under the ACA, the federal government will pay 100 percent of Medicaid expansion costs from 2014 to 2017, when federal aid will drop to 95 percent. From 2020 on, the federal government will cover 90 percent of the costs.   

The report was prepared for Rep. Barbara Norton’s bill. Her bill is just one of five measures being offered by Democratic lawmakers to expand Medicaid that are going before the House Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday.

Gov. Bobby Jindal continues to oppose expanding Medicaid, arguing it’s too expensive. But reliable numbers have been hard to come by as reports have varied on projections of costs and savings realized.

For example, a Kaiser Commission report released in November projected expansion could cost the state $1.7 billion over the next 10 years. That same report also estimated Louisiana could also save $267 million in uncompensated healthcare costs. Then in March, the state Department of Health and Hospitals estimated the state could save as much as $368 million over the same time period.

Correction: WRKF previously reported in error that savings from a Medicaid expansion would be up to $1 billion over 10 years, mistakenly adding the projected savings over five years and over 10 years. This story has been updated to correctly reflect the savings projections.